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Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Monday, 2 August 2010 13:42 UK
Rare midas tree weaver spider found in Epping Forest
One of the fake spiders nests being emptied
Specialist found the pair of spiders in one of their artificial nests

An rare species of spider which had not been seen in Britain for eight years has been found in Epping Forest.

The midas tree weaver (midia midas), which live in birds nests and ancient trees, has only ever been found in five locations around Britain.

Two female spiders, which measure just 2mm, were found by a team of experts from the British Arachnological Society and conservation trust, Buglife.

Special artificial spider homes were created to attract the species.

"It's a really exciting find for Epping Forest," Buglife's James Dale told BBC Essex.

"Given that it's not been seen for eight years, it is a real rediscovery - some things have been missing for shorter amounts of time and been considered extinct."

James explained how they had placed 'fake' nests using tangerine net bags into pollarded hornbeam, beech and oak trees to attract the spiders and other insects.

"We filled them up with twigs, bits of dead leaf and some chicken poo, because we had to make a natural organic waste material, which was a bit like a rotten birds nest," he said.

"The spiders don't really know it's a fake one."

The research by Buglife and the British Arachnological Society began in May and is set be completed in September.




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